The Serum Institute of India (SII) fire was brought under control in the western city of Pune on Thursday although the cause is still under investigation, according to Murleidhar Mohol, the mayor of the city.
Mohul said four people were rescued from the six-story building but five others died. They were believed to be construction workers as the building was still under construction at the time of the fire.
Videos and images showed black smoke billowing from the building at the company compound. Muhl said 15 units from the Municipal Administration and Fire Department worked to put out the fire.
He added that initial investigations indicate that “during the construction of the building, some welding work may have led to a fire.”
Pune fire brigade chief Prashant Runby said Friday that the fire started on the second floor. While the firefighters were working to put out the flames, the fire reigned elsewhere. The second fire was extinguished at 4:15 pm local time by 50 firefighters and workers. Ranbis said they are still investigating the cause of the fire.
“We learned that unfortunately there were some casualties in the accident. We are deeply saddened and extend our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased,” Adar Bunawala, CEO of SII, said on Twitter on Thursday.
A family business started by Poonawala’s father 50 years ago to provide cheaper vaccines to the masses, and the Serum Institute in India aims to produce hundreds of millions of Coronavirus vaccines not only for India, but also for other developing countries.
In a tweet, Bonawala said that despite “a few floors destroyed,” the production of the Coffeeshield vaccine would not be affected.
“I would like to reassure all governments and the public that there will be no loss in COVISHIELD production due to the multiple production buildings I have kept in reserve to deal with such emergencies,” he said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences Thursday: “I am concerned about the loss of life due to an unfortunate fire … At this sad hour, my thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. I pray to God that the injured recover at this moment. As soon as possible.”